Introducing: Nicholas Krgovich’s “Belief”

A track and video premiere from Krgovich, along with an essay on the song's conception in the midst of a springtime heartbreak.

I remember writing this song while at work cutting grass. It was on a muggy May afternoon, during that part of early spring where insects and flies are suddenly everywhere. There were birds and sun and colors, too, but I couldn’t help but notice all the bugs—one of the classically brutal parts about being heart broken in the springtime, that sense of new life bursting all over the place while you just wanna crawl under the rug. I also remember listening to the Barbara Streisand version of “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” a lot. Standing in the kitchen, doing nothing.

“Belief,” like all the songs on OUCH, came quickly. The lines just plopped out. Considering the lyric sheet now it’s all hilariously heavy. It opens with “I know somewhere I can be loved, but it’s hid deep down, crusted over curling with slugs.” Gross! Sad and gross! But that was my vibration at the time, and all this hopelessness felt inescapable and impossibly true. That was a big thing I learned: noticing the difference between conceptually understanding an idea versus actually embodying it. Cerebrally, I knew I wasn’t an unlovable piece of shit, but, for whatever reason, my spirit did not. It took a long while for it to catch up actually. I’m thankful it did.

A few nights after I wrote “Belief,” my friend Louise Burns came over to record some vocals. We drank gin, shaken with ice and a bit of lemon. I think it was because of that, that I thought it’d be good if she echoed the last lines of the song —“It was a fucked up winter and a fucked up spring”—in this kind of Greek chorus, ’80s Lou Reed backup singer way. I wonder if OUCH will come with a parental advisory explicit language sticker? I kind of curse a lot on it.

Shortly after I’d finished the album, I sent it to my friend David Galloway, wondering if he knew of any directors that might want to make a video for a song. He wrote back saying our other friend David Ehrenreich had footage of this ballerina that might work. A few days later, we met for one beer at a bar near my house. David E. propped his iPhone against a pint glass, showed me a rough cut for “Belief,” and I said, “Yes! This is beautiful! Perfect! Please make this!”.  And so he did. I literally had nothing to do with it except look at the camera for ten seconds, then turn away in the last shot. The rest is all the work of David E. and David G. and Christoph, the dancer. Christoph has this conviction and intense sense of purpose with his movements that really work with the song despite him dancing to nothing during the shoot.  I feel like he’s dancing from the root of something, and I think these songs were written from a similar place. It’s exciting to see that on display in such a straight up, simple way. Coincidentally, the public square where this all happens was designed by Arthur Erickson, who also designed the house on the album cover. Why architecture has anything to do with anything is all inside baseball, but it’s another nice synchronicity in how this project came about.

I don’t really know how I feel about music videos. There are a few on YouTube from 2014 where I’m singing and dancing and mugging for the camera, approaching it like the early days of MTV—just the artist up there, lip-syncing, trying to sell a song. During this time, I was just happy that I had it in me to be a ham in front of a camera and not get all self-conscious. It was fun, but confused. Which was, and still is, fine with me. A moment in time. The videos I made for my last record in 2017 cost zero dollars and were shot on a tiny Japanese toy camera. They feature oversaturated and grainy footage of me doing things like eating an onion like an apple, visiting a pumpkin patch, petting a donkey. No singing or dancing to be seen; just pure vibe and atmosphere. Now here’s this one, which is shot beautifully and is kind of unassumingly expressive and emotional.  And I barely had to do anything! And I love it! I appreciate you taking the time to watch it.

—Nicholas Krgovich

Nicholas Krgovich is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work with No Kids, Gigi, and P:ano.  He has been releasing records under various monikers since P:ano’s acclaimed chamber pop debut, WHEN IT’S DARK AND IT’S SUMMER (2002).  This led to his recordings with the girl group inspired Gigi, the icy displacement of the R&B informed No Kids, and most recently the singular pop dreams released under his own name.  Even though the material is often wildly diverse, there is an unmistakable sense of Krgovich’s deep commitment to exploring the endless possibilities of pop, his discerning ear for sonic detail, and an ambition that willfully borders on the absurd.

With songs that owe as much to the Great American Songbook as to perennial favorites like Sade, Prefab Sprout, and The Blue Nile, Krgovich has been creating a rich musical universe comprised of intricate vocal melodies, lush orchestral arrangements, layers of analog synths, slinky guitars and tight rhythms of the human (and inhuman) variety.

He has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia with his various projects, and has collaborated with artists such as Mount Eerie, Deradoorian, Nite Jewel, and Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors.  In between recording and touring he has participated in a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts, written a one-act musical for Vancouver’s Push Festival, contributed songs to myriad film and television productions, and taken his dog, Sally, on countless walks around the neighborhood.